Fulham United, originally known as Western United, was founded on June 11, 1969. It was soon affiliated with the S.A.A.S.L., choosing black and white as its official club colours, while sharing the facilities at Barrett Reserve with West Beach Soccer Club.
The original executive committee comprised of Dom Coppola (president/coach), Jan Coppola (secretary), and Anthony Spadavecchia (treasurer). The club played a number of games that year, but it was the following year (1970) that it received its first official fixture in the Reserves Division. Although Western United was beaten 4-0 by Parafield Gardens in its first game, it did quite well in the competition. Its success was furthered by the acquisition of Johnny Chiappin as a player/coach in 1971.
Western United remained at Barrett Reserve until 1979, when the Woodville Council built new club rooms and established playing fields at Collins Reserve, Fulham Gardens, for the club to use as its base. It was at this time that it seemed appropriate to change its name to Fulham United. The club is still using this as its home ground, fielding five women’s and three men’s teams to date.
Over the years, many players have been associated with the club, while some of the founding members are still actively involved today; namely Sal Coppola, Joe Tropeano and Ned Zucco. Carmelo Debartolo, Frank Dimasi, Pas Girolamo, Arthur Labrosciano, Aldo Mammone and Cosi Salerno have also had a long association with the club, not only as players, but also as enthusiastic and hard-working coaches, team managers, committee members, etc.
As a club, Fulham United has had its measure of success. Its achievements include winning the Chairman’s Cup in 1975, the Real Reserve Cup in 1977, and the Mitre Reserve Cup in 2000. There have also been a number of teams winning their divisions. Division winners include: 9th Div. 1997; 2nd Div. 2000; and 8th Div. 2001. Reserves: 1st Div. 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002; and 2nd Division Reserves, 2000.
Many individual players for Fulham United have also excelled. J. Braiotta, J. Chiappin, C. Debartolo, R. Esposito, P. Fiocchini, M. Graziano, P. Hallam, A. Labrosciano, A. Mallia, C. Salerno, L. Sancillio, and N. Zucco have all represented the state at various times. J. Chiappin, C. Debartolo and J. Mason have also been honoured with the title of player of the year. L. Sancillio was awarded best and fairest in Div. 2 both in ’84 and ’85. Later, in ’94, R. Haddock scored the highest number of goals in Div. 2, while in 2001 A. Mallia was top goal scorer in Div. 1.
With the introduction of women’s teams in 1997, Fulham United widened its scope and accomplishments in the sporting field. The Premier team was runner-up in 2002 and 2003, both in the League and Bailetti Cup, whereas the Reserve team was the winner of the Consolation Cup in 2002. The Under 16 team, winner of both the League and Cup in 2003, was also undefeated throughout 2003!
On an individual level, the women’s achievements have been significant. Chi Chi May, a member of the youth Matilda squad, was selected to play for Toronto Inferno Soccer Club in Canada in 2003. Anne Marie Vozzo, another member of the youth Matilda squad, was also named rookie of the year. Previously, Rosetta Debartolo had been chosen as player of the year in 2nd Division. Jessica Halfpenny was chosen as a member of the Matilda squad. Tiffany Winn and Lee Fata were both national league players, while Leanne Gubbins, currently playing for the national league, was awarded S.A.S.I. player of the year in 2003. N. Burgess (current national league player), N. Costa, C. Grillo, H. Harrison, N. Lesan, M. Rajcic and K. Thomas have all represented South Australia.
During its history, Fulham United has succeeded and progressed, not only with the dedication of its numerous members, but also with immense support from many major sponsors. D’Oro Distributors, Crittenden Meat, Adami’s Sand and Metal, Rocla Quarry Products, Best Bricks and Pavers, The Money Works, Tripodi Group of Companies, Halfway Hotel and Quality Drycleaners, have all given much appreciated financial assistance.
Today, Fulham United Soccer Club (or Fulham Force as it is referred to by its members) is recognised as a well respected sporting and social club, providing an ever-expanding community service in the western suburbs.
WESTERN UNITED 1972 TEAM LINE UP
Back row N. Zucco, J. Finnis, J. Tropeano, P. Fiocchini, D. Pelosi, F. Carenza, T. Tropeano, D. Coppola
Front row R. Romeo, J. Chiappin, R. Tavella, S. Loprete, S. Coppola, S. Passalacqua